Sports‎ > ‎

Thousands protest ahead of F1 race

posted 16 Apr 2012, 13:54 by Mpelembe   [ updated 16 Apr 2012, 13:54 ]

Hundreds of protesters clash with police ahead of Formula One race.

MANAMA, BAHRAIN (APRIL 16, 2012) (REUTERS) - As Formula One drivers make their way to the region for their race in Bahrain this weekend, hundreds of protesters clash with police in what has become a regular occurrence in Bahrain's capital Manama.
Protesters mourning the death of a youth shot dead over two weeks ago used his funeral as a protest chanting anti-government slogans and spraying walls with anti-F1 graffiti.

One piece of graffiti read "Don't race over blood", another called for punishment for whoever shot the youth.

At the end of the funeral, young men blocked roads and prepared petrol bombs to throw at riot police, who fired teargas in return.

Clashes of this kind are a common occurrence in Bahrain but police have not been known to use live rounds yet. The origin of the bullet that killed the youth is still unknown.

Formula One's governing body said last Friday that the race would be going ahead, despite calls from activists for it to be cancelled due to continuing unrest with regular clashes between police and anti-government protesters.

More demonstrations have been called for this week leading up to the grand prix, the biggest sporting event in Bahrain and one broadcast to a global television audience of many millions.

Last year's race had to be cancelled due to the February uprising and Formula One, whose teams have been deeply uneasy about going to Bahrain but have binding contracts to do so, has not returned since March 2010.

Local paper reports on Monday said that the Bahraini government had granted permission for rallies every day this week, after requests from opposition.